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Special Chords

We will call these “special chords” as they don’t quite fit into the method of chord construction we have learned so far, but really they aren’t that special so don’t be scared of them. Up until now we have been constructing chords by counting up the scale form the root of the chord, and leaving out every other note. So the chord consists of the 1st, 3rd and 5th scale degrees (if it is a triad), or the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th if it is a four-note chord.

These chords are quite common in many styles, so it is worth learning how they are made up and when they can be used.

The major 6 chord.

This is a chord that we can use instead of a major 7. We learned in part 1 that (in a major key) we can use a major 7 chord as chord I or chord IV.

So in the key of C major, we have:

major 7 chords

Constructing major 7 chords in the key of C

 

However if we use the 6th degree of the scale instead of the 7th note, we get this:

major 6 chords.

Constructing major 6 chords in the key of C

 

Why the major 6 chord?

There are a couple of reasons:
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